Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Giller Thrill

I'm currently President of Canadian Booksellers Association, so I'm supposed to be somewhat composed and dignified and represent my colleagues across Canada by speaking up on their behalf, by talking with media about issues and challenges that are pertinent to their day to day lives and by working on various projects designed to assist them in being successful as they serve communities and enrich the culture across our great nation.

I think that on most days I do okay and maintain at least some semblance of composure. 

Even last summer when there was a bit of a media frenzy related to Amazon vs Indies and I had to debate Michael Geist on Jian Ghomeshi's Q on CBC radio, appeared on various radio programs across Canada and also appeared on CBC and CTV speaking up on behalf of independent booksellers, I managed to remain at least relatively composed.

But on days like today it's really hard to keep the book nerd fanboy inside of me in check.

Because on days like today, I have the honour of attending the seventeenth annual dinner and award ceremony for the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Tonight, in my role with CBA, I'm honoured to have been invited to attend the black tie reception, dinner and awards ceremony in Toronto in announcing the winner and honouring the distinguished finalists of the Scotiabank Giller Prize:  David Bergen, Alexander MacLeod, Sarah Selecky, Johanna Skibsrud and Kathleen Winter.

Five great novels by five great Canadian authors. I'm delighted and thrilled that I get to attend an event that honours them, as well as just be part of what has been a groundbreaking campaign by a television station to support a literary event.  CTV has been covering the awards and highlighting the authors for the past several weeks, launching such programs as the "One Country 5 Books" pledge, and will be broadcasting the event live tonight on Bravo! BookTelevision and Giller.CTV.ca.

I remember meeting CBC legend Peter Gzowski at a literary award event more than a decade ago and being practically speechless as I shook his hand and thanked him for his wonderful Morningside program which brought our nation together every weekday morning. This past summer I managed not to embarass myself (at least not too much), when I got to hang out with and introduce Shelagh Rogers at the CBA Libris Awards. (Okay, I gushed a little bit, but can you blame a guy who relishes in her fantastic The Next Chapter program?)

So tonight I'll be there, trying to maintain my composure as I hang out in a room filled with beautiful book nerds, authors, publishers and many other people from our literary and entertainment industry and just soaking in the excitement and thrill of getting to be part of it all.

But, inside, I'll be busting at the seams, trying not to act like an overwhelmed fan at an Elvis, Beatles or Justin Bieber concert.  God, some days it's just so hard to keep the gigantic book nerd inside of me under control.

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